Obama condemns deadly attack that left 39 dead in Kenya

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Dec 23rd, 2012
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A Kenyan aid worker who was wounded in the attack lies on a stretcher as he waits to be evacuated by airplane from Dadaab refugee camp, northern Kenya, Friday, June 29, 2012. Somali militants ambushed an aid convoy Friday, killed a Kenyan aid worker and kidnapped four international workers at the Kenyan refugee camp near the border with Somalia, officials said, while Kenyan police said they were pursuing the attackers. (AP Photo)

A Kenyan aid worker who was wounded in the attack lies on a stretcher as he waits to be evacuated by airplane from Dadaab refugee camp, northern Kenya, Friday, June 29, 2012. Somali militants ambushed an aid convoy Friday, killed a Kenyan aid worker and kidnapped four international workers at the Kenyan refugee camp near the border with Somalia, officials said, while Kenyan police said they were pursuing the attackers. (AP Photo)

President Barack Obama is condemning violence in Kenya that left at least 39 people dead in renewed fighting between farming and herding communities that have a history of violent animosity.

The White House says in a statement that Obama urges the Kenyan government and police, along with leaders from the Orma and Pokomo communities, to end a deadly cycle of conflict.

At least 39 people were killed early Friday when farmers from the Pokomo tribe raided an Orma village of cattle herders in southeastern Kenya.

The violence appears to be driven by competition for water, pasture and other resources in the Tana River Delta.

The Obama administration is calling on all sides to intensify peace efforts in the region and says those responsible for the attack should be held accountable.

Meanwhile, Garsen Member of Parliament Danson Mungatana has called on the police to hasten investigations into the Killings.

He called for the arrest of all people involved in the massacre, including one top contender for the Garsen Parliamentary seat who is being sought by police for alleged incitement.

Mr. Mungatana urged the residents of Tana River County to volunteer information to the police that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.

His appeal comes amidst reports that at least sixty people, including a former officer in the General Service Unit (GSU), were arrested by police following the Friday morning attack that led to the killing of 45 people at Kipao village in Tarasaa division.

Police reports also indicated that an AK 47 assault rifle and a number of crude weapons were recovered in the swoop triggered by the attack.

The politician, who is said to have sent an inciting message to a local administrator urging people to hide their guns just two days before the attack, is also being sought by the police.

The assistant chief who received the message was interrogated for several hours at the Tana Delta DC’s office on Thursday, just hours before the attack on Kipao village.

Tana River County Council Chairman Salim Golo Friday blamed police officers for offering security selectively, saying some areas did not have any police presence despite the fact that more than 1,800 officers have been patrolling the district.

On Thursday, the head of the security operation in the district, Assistant Commissioner of Police Anthony Kamito, warned that police would use force to recover illegally owned guns, including nine guns and 580 rounds of ammunition stolen from police officers in Kilelengwani on September 10, 2012.

President Kibaki ordered the deployment of the officers and imposed a curfew in the district, but police have not made much headway in recovering the guns, with only 20 guns surrendered voluntarily.

The Tana delta was rocked by inter-ethnic clashes between Orma and Pokomo communities in August and September this year over the grazing and farming resources along River Tana with politicians being accused of instigating the clashes.

Following the skirmishes that displaced families, left over 100 people dead and many others injured, the president appointed a commission to unravel the animosity led by high court judge, Justice Grace Nzioka.

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